EA CEO wants universal game ratings across the globe

John Riccitiello wants the same ratings across mobile, social and all platforms too

With the digital era upon us, there are countless games across Facebook, iOS, Android and more, and these platforms each use a different rating system. On top of that, different countries have different content ratings in the console/PC games space. It's a situation that could really benefit from a universally adopted system, says EA boss John Riccitiello.

"We live in an incredible age. In the past three years the audience for games has grown from roughly 200 million, to over one billion. Virtually everyone on the planet who owns a phone, can play a game. The Supreme Court has given us the same First Amendment rights as authors, musicians and film makers - a set of rights which we cherish. But as we are so often told: With great freedom, comes great responsibility. To live up to that responsibility, we need to do a better job informing the consumer, no matter the channel, the platform or the geography. We must adopt a self-regulated, global rating system across every format games are played on," he told politicians in Washington, D.C. last night, including the FCC Commissioner and Chairman.

Riccitiello's comments came as part of an acceptance speech for the Media Institute's annual American Horizon Award, which he won for his "visionary leadership in promoting the vitality and independence of his industry."

"We're at a point in history when we've never been so free to create and distribute content," Riccitiello continued. "But we're also at a point when we need to update the way we inform consumers. Consumers are finding many new places to get their games - Facebook, Google, Apple, as well as services like Steam and Origin. Most have a rating system, but none are consistent. Consequently, we are confusing the consumer."

Patricia Vance, head of the ESRB in the US, has said that she's working with other ratings bodies around the world to create a global system, and Riccitiello noted that it's still being developed with the cooperation of the different rating boards.

"We must move beyond the alphabet soup of game ratings and consolidate behind a single standard that consumers will recognize and, ultimately, demand," Riccitiello concluded.

[Thanks Polygon]

Latest comments (6)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 5 years ago
Hum. This just isn't going to happen, for the same reason that film ratings aren't standardised across different countries - different country's ratings boards view things differently, dependent upon their culture. Oh, sure, it sounds nice, but it'll hit a dead-end as soon as France and Poland say The Witcher 1 and 2 are Teen/Mature, and the US and UK says they're Adults Only (or the US censors them). And then, of course, Australia will want all the sex removed, and Germany will want the blood turned green.
The Supreme Court has given us the same First Amendment rights as authors, musicians and film makers - a set of rights which we cherish
But which is potentially financially ruinous if you really push the First Amendment in visual entertainment... Isn't that why NC-17 was (and still is?) viewed as a death knell at the US Box Office?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 15th November 2012 6:00pm

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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee5 years ago
Its a nice dream but the idea of a universal rating system completely undermines the fact that across the world we're so incredibly different culturally, and therefore how certain things i.e. war, sex, drugs, blood, violence, peril etc. are viewed differ too.

The Tec Guy ~AC

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 15th November 2012 6:04pm

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Greg Rinaldi Producer, EA Tiburon5 years ago
I don't think he's advocating that any one game should have the same rating in all countries. Just that there needs to be a universal system for rating games that consumers can recognize across all platforms (console, PC, mobile, browser, etc.). Individual ratings boards in different regions would still have discretion on how to rate the content, but a unified system of ratings would create a common language for consumers.
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Show all comments (6)
Jakob Golombek CEO & Co-Founder 5 years ago
It would make things easier for publishers. But the consumer will always look regional.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
Americans think extreme violence is OK but that sex should be censored like crazy.
The Scandinavians and Germans are the exact opposite.

There are primitive societies still where women have to cover their faces and stoning and amputation are accepted punishments. How would these backwards people get their heads round liberal Western values? The evidence thus far is that they have huge problems.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
It's a terrible idea. How do you have universal ratings with disparate cultural sensitivities, and different laws, which in some countries ratings are tied to?

Yes, it would make EAs life easier and bottom line better if they only had to worry about one ratings compliance procedure, but it would then totally fail the countries it served.
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